When you think of birds with brain power, of course parrots come to mind, with the ability to mimic and articulate actual words. But did you know that crows are actually some of the most intelligent birds in the sky, with the ability to recognize and remember faces? I was touched by a recent heartwarming story about a family of crows whose babies once fell out of a tree near a family's house. The family felt terribly for this group of baby birds and brought them to a friend of theirs who happened to be a veterinarian. The veterinarian, named Kristy, and her family decided to care for the crow babies, feeding them every 2 to 3 hours, naming them, and developing a bond with them. They even taught the little crows to say "hello," an ability I never knew crows had! These particular crows would literally greet their caretakers with a "hello" when they'd see them, recognizing their faces. Unfortunately, as the baby birds grew, they started to do the mischievous things that wild birds do, like attack neighbors' gardens and make a lot of noise. And eventually the grown baby crows joined a group of older crows and started flying south for winter, as birds tend to do. But each year, at least two of these crows fly back to visit their human saviors and greet them. Kristy and her family know it's these particular crows because the birds literally say "hello" to them when they arrive!
This is a truly remarkable story that reveals the intelligence and sensitivity of even wild animals. I would never have imagined that one could forge a relationship with a crow. But the lesson is powerful-- the creatures of our natural world are to be valued, respected, and protected, even the animals that we take for granted, even the animals that may annoy us from time to time. There's a level of intelligence and "knowing" to animals that many of us don't even realize.